Beware: Bitcoin and FIFA 2018 top new phishing scams


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Johannesburg – Forget the Nigerian prince who wants to give you his inheritance or claiming your winnings from a global lottery – Bitcoin and FIFA 2018 are the new scams. 

According to a report by software security company, Kaspersky Lab “Bitcoin” and “FIFA 2018” were the top spam and phishing topics used to scam online users in 2017.

The company’s “Spam and phishing in 2017” report revealed that cybercriminals have, over the past 12 months, been following the global agenda and used hot topics to steal money or personal information from people online. 

“Spammers have shown themselves to be thoughtful actors, instantly monitoring global issues and major events around the globe with one main purpose – to capture and capitalise on their victim’s attention,” Kaspersky Lab said. 

In 2017, the world had been intensively preparing for FIFA 2018 scheduled to take place in Russia from 14 June to 15 July and scammers capitalised on this by actively spreading related emails, said Kaspersky Lab. 

“They’ve been sending victims fraudulent messages with official logos of the event, including organisers and sponsor brand information, and notifying users about lottery wins and even promising them free tickets’.”

Meanwhile, due to its exponential rise in value in 2017, Kaspersky Lab researchers have  recorded a growth in Bitcoin and blockchain-themed tricks in the third quarter of 2017.

According to Kaspersky Lab’s discoveries, criminals have been using tricks such as websites disguised as cryptocurrency exchanges, and fake services offering cloud mining, i.e. the use of specialised data centres for rent. 

“In all cases users became the victims – losing money instead of earning any. In more traditional fraud schemes, such as fake lottery winnings, criminals have also started to use Bitcoin as bait, and in addition to targeted address databases advertised through spam, databases with emails for cryptocurrency users have been also offered for purchase, promising great opportunities,” the company said. 

There was good news however, as Kaspersky Lab reported that the average amount of spam in 2017 decreased to 56.63%, which is 1.68 percentage points less than in 2016. 

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